Box.net announced plans to invest $2 million in a developer network designed to promote the production of enterprise friendly applications today. Named the Box Innovation Network, or /bin, the network is intended to foster the creation of an ecosystem whereby developers enhance the functionality of Box.net by creating enterprise applications in collaboration with the company's partners Appcelerator, Cloud Foundry, Heroku, Rackspace, Twilio and SnapLogic. The initiative is intended to address a lack of innovation in enterprise software development by encouraging developers to build applications that leverage Box APIs on top of partner platforms. According to the press release, partners will be expected to provide developers with the "tools and services" required to deliver enterprise grade applications that have the ultimate effect of driving enterprise level adoption of Box.net.
Box.net's CEO Aaron Levie remarked on the place of the Box Innovation Network in relation to enterprise-level software development as follows:
"Slow-moving enterprise software giants have produced very little innovation in recent years, and their closed ecosystems have made it all but impossible for outside players to create compelling experiences for customers on legacy systems. We're changing all of that -- and we're doing so in ways that platforms like Microsoft simply cannot -- by creating an open ecosystem of leading partners to enable developers to build and deploy Box applications instantly and on any platform."
As such, the Box Innovation Network intends to create an elite community of developers for the enterprise in ways analogous to the place of the Facebook developer community for enhancing the social networking experience today. Examples of applications that enterprises might find useful include enhanced security and audit tracking for administrators, increased role-based access functionality and data loss protection software. The first member of /bin, LiveOffice, today announced the release of FileArchive, an application that allows users to archive files on Box.net and Dropbox by leveraging APIs from both companies. LiveOffice backs up the archived files to provide an additional degree of protection against catastrophic loss, thereby addressing enterprise concerns about the security of user storage of company data on an application such as Box.net.
Box.net is used by over 100,000 businesses, 7 million worldwide users and 77 percent of Fortune 500 businesses. Usage of Box.net on a mobile platform increased by a factor of 30 between Q3 2011 and Q3 2010. Examples of current Box.net enterprise customers include AAA, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, McAfee and Procter & Gamble. Flush with cash from its Series D $81 million funding round in October, the company now aims to leverage /bin to move from departmental adoption within enterprises to more instances of organization-wide enterprise adoption.